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OncoMark secures €2.1M investment for new diagnostic test

OncoMark (www.oncomark.com), a UCD spin-out company, has secured €2.1 million in funding. The funding round included; Kernel Capital, through the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds, the Irrus Investments syndicate, the Galway HBAN MedTech syndicate, private investors and Enterprise Ireland.

OncoMark is focused on the development of novel panels of cancer biomarkers, to aid treatment decisions and allow more tailored patient management, ultimately improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

This investment round will fund the commercialisation of OncoMark's lead product, OncoMasTR, which it plans to launch in 2018. OncoMasTR is a novel prognostic test for early-stage breast cancer that will reduce the number of breast cancer patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy.

The OncoMasTR test is based on a panel of genetic 'drivers' of breast cancer. The original research that resulted in the identification of the panel was led by Professor Adrian Bracken, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin and researchers at the UCD Conway Institute, led by Professor William Gallagher. The OncoMasTR technology was subsequently exclusively licenced by both universities to OncoMark. 

Pictured (l-r) at NovaUCD are; Dawn Walsh, Kernel Capital; Des O’Leary, CEO, OncoMark; Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute and co-founder, OncoMark;  Deirdre Glenn, Manager, Lifesciences Sector, Enterprise Ireland and Kevin Healy, Senior Manager, Corporate Banking Ireland, Bank of Ireland. Pictured (l-r) at NovaUCD are; Dawn Walsh, Kernel Capital; Des O’Leary, CEO, OncoMark; Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute and co-founder, OncoMark; Deirdre Glenn, Manager, Lifesciences Sector, Enterprise Ireland and Kevin Healy, Senior Manager, Corporate Banking Ireland, Bank of Ireland. 

OncoMark was previously awarded €2.7 million, through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2, to clinically validate the OncoMasTR test. This new funding round will allow the translation of the test from clinical validation to regulatory approval and full commercialisation.

OncoMark, which was co-founded by Professor William Gallagher and Steve Penney as a spin-out from UCD’s School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

Des O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer, OncoMark said, "In the absence of accurate tests, the majority of early-stage breast cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy despite many not benefiting from the treatment. This exposes individuals to severe side effects and results in significant costs to healthcare systems worldwide. Approximately 70% of patients do not require chemotherapy after initial surgery, but it has been difficult to identify these individuals.

The OncoMasTR test is designed to enable a more personalised approach to patient care, helping clinicians to determine which patients should not receive chemotherapy, ultimately improving their quality of life.”

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